Updated: Jul 11, 2021
This gorgeous ‘Kamal cactus’ (Hindi) was one of the few plants growing on the barren land that we bought in 2015. It was growing next to a big boulder so we retained both as a landscape feature. Once identified as Blue Agave, we started imagining our own Tequila distillery!
We watched our Agave grow taller and denser every year, we got some agave ‘pups’ (off shoots) at its base and had them planted around the estate. A friend took some leaves to experiment making Agave nectar which is a sugar substitute. Besides being the base for Tequila, agave has many uses. In the desert it provides food and water and its leaves can be processed as fibre and even parchment.
All of these require tedious processes which are easier said than done! So we simply enjoyed our Agave’s gigantic blue leaves for several years until one day, to our surprise, it started sprouting. The ‘sprout’ grew taller by the day and finally bloomed. Although this was a gorgeous sight, it was a sad moment as it signalled the end of its life. The Agave is Semelparous or Monocarpic which means that it flowers only once at the end of its life, and then it dies. It is often also called “century plant” because it blooms only once in its lifetime.
We marvelled at this unusual blooming, took several selfies with its towering presence, and admired the green bulbils and yellow flowers for the whole of last year. Sadly, yesterday we had to bring it down. Its end was larger than its life. Even after cutting it into pieces (6 to 15 feet long), we required 5 people to move it. It has left us with hundreds of seed pods, bulbils, and agave pups. RIP dear Agave.
It will be home grown Tequila Time some day in the near future.
*Agave Americana/ Agave Tequiliana grows wildly in Mexico, its Indian cousin is called 'Naara Kalabanda' or 'Kittha Nara', grows abundantly in Rayalaseema, Andhra Pradesh, its commercial potential remains unexplored.